Providing dignity to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence survivors

2018-05-11 3:24:17 PM

Since its inception, the Nursing Alumnae Association of the Women’s College Hospital School of Nursing have been strong supporters of patients and programs at WCH. Over the years, important funds raised by this outstanding association have helped to advance the quality of care that makes Women’s College Hospital such a special place.

In 1992, the Association began directing a portion of its donations in support of track suits and other personal items for young women, men and trans persons accessing services at the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre (SA/DVCC). Since then, their generosity has provided comfort, dignity and security to hundreds of victims and survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence.

In recognition of Sexual Assault Prevention Month, and the generosity of the Nursing Alumnae Association, we are pleased to share an overview of the impactful work being done by the SA/DVCC to improve patient care for those who have experienced assault and violence.

When it opened in 1984, the Sexual Assault Care Centre (as it was then known) was the first of its kind in Ontario. It was founded in response to the lack of standards that existed at the time when it came to providing appropriate and timely care for victims of sexual assault. WCH recognized this urgent gap in care and took steps to address it by opening the Sexual Assault Centre.

With the support of generous donors such as the Nursing Alumnae Association, the Centre is now the provincial leader in standardization and training for Ontario’s network of 35 sexual assault centres and is committed to providing care for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence with dignity, respect and compassion. Each year, approximately 600 patients access the services of the SA/DVCC where the Centre’s expert team of nurses and counselors offer immediate and comprehensive support on a 24/7 basis.

As a leader in research and training for healthcare providers and organizations such as Toronto Police Services, the SA/DVCC is advancing public education and standardization of services across the province and is building community partnerships to raise awareness and ensure that victims are referred for care. This includes training for 50 sexual assault nurses across the province each year to ensure victims and survivors have access to unconditional support.

The track suits and personal items provided to clients with the support of the Alumnae Association are a crucial aspect of the services offered by the Centre. A change of clean, comfortable clothes can begin to restore a sense of dignity for survivors after their clothing has been ruined or collected for investigation. Providing survivors with access to personal care items, including a TTC token to ensure they have a safe way home after receiving care at the Centre, can help survivors reclaim a small sense of normalcy as they begin their journey of healing and recovery.

This is the incredible work that is supported by the enduring generosity of our Alumnae Association. On behalf of the entire staff of Women’s College Hospital, Women’s College Hospital Foundation and the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre, we extend our deepest gratitude to our Nursing School alumnae for the care that they continue to provide through the power of giving.

Photo courtesy of WCH Archives: Nursing alumnae present cheque for WCH 1964 building campaign.